BANGKOK • Ariya Jutanugarn finally won the Honda LPGA Thailand title after 14 years of trying yesterday, beating compatriot Atthaya Thitikul by one stroke in a dramatic finish to the US$1.6 million (S$2.1 million) tournament.
After sinking a ninth birdie at the 18th hole to sign for a flawless nine-under 63, the Thai had a nervous wait in the clubhouse before her 11th LPGA title was confirmed as a thunderstorm forced a one-hour suspension of play.
Atthaya, who had led by a shot with two holes to play, was the only one of the six players still on the course who could still catch Ariya - a shot off the lead with her round paused on the 18th fairway.
But, after play resumed at the Siam Country Club, she was only able to par the 18th for a 68 to fall one stroke short of Ariya's tally of 22-under 266.
Former world No. 1 Ariya, who made her debut at the tournament as an 11-year-old amateur in 2007, shed tears of joy as she became the first Thai to win the title.
"I've been waiting for so long and finally I got it, so I'm really proud of myself," the two-time Major winner said after celebrating with her sister and fellow pro Moriya. "Always very happy to be here."
Atthaya was on course for a maiden LPGA title until she three-putted the par-four 17th for her only bogey just as Ariya was firing a five-iron into the green at the par-five 18th to give herself a putt for an eagle.
South Koreans Ryu So-yeon and Amy Yang shot 64 to share third with Angel Yin (66) and overnight leader Patty Tavatanakit (70) on 20 under.